God’s Will Be Done

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about the idea that when hard things come our way, we need to relinquish our stubbornness and attempts to control the situation, and leave it up to God. While I believe for the most part that this is completely true, (God always knows better than we do and He does have all the answers) sometimes we can let the “God’s will be done” attitude be an excuse for not taking action in situations that we don’t want to take responsibility for, or as justification to explain a hard-to-swallow incident.

Some examples of times when we may use “God’s will be done” as an excuse or justification and why it is dangerous or wrong to do so:

  • We were talking in my theology class about our responsibility as humans and children of God, to care for His creation; namely to take better care of the earth in regards to climate change, the rapid extinction of important species, deforestation, etc. One girl who was raised Catholic by her mother, but who had a Fundamentalist Christian father, said that her father argued that if there was a real problem (in the case of global warming)—which he believed there wasn’t—then we shouldn’t do anything about it anyways because it was God’s will. This is completely relinquishing any responsibility we have as God’s creatures to care for His creation. How can we be so blind to say that the destruction happening in the world is God’s will? Why would He ever want us to destroy His creation? The destruction is clearly caused by human beings, and so it must be solved by human beings.
  • In the case of working hard at school or a job, we may slack off saying, “Oh if I don’t pass the test, then I guess it wasn’t God’s will.” “Oh if I don’t get the promotion, then I guess it wasn’t God’s will.” This is also excusing our laziness by saying it was God’s will for us to fail or not to get the promotion, but that’s not how God works. God gives us the tools we need and He guides us in the right direction, but the rest is up to us. We need to put in the work and take responsibility for our actions.
  • When tragic things happen like a small girl dying in a car accident, or an innocent man being murdered, or a young wife losing her husband to war, we may say, “I guess God was just calling them home. It was just His will.” This is especially dangerous. By saying that it is God’s will for people to die in car accidents, to be murdered, to be killed in war, is to make God into a monster. Evil exists, and God allows it to exist, but it is never His WILL for bad things to happen to innocent people, and to say this is to tarnish the very nature of God.

In situations that really are out of our control—such as a relationship ending that you didn’t want to end and there’s nothing you can do to change the other person’s mind—we do have to just give it all up to God and “let His will be done.” But in situations where we clearly have a choice and our actions clearly make a difference, we must pray for God’s guidance to make the right decisions, and then act on that ourselves.

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